Tuesday, April 3 – We went to nearby Usery Mountain Regional Park today for a hike. This park takes in 3,648 acres set at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains, adjacent to the Tonto National Forest. You can see these mountains off to the North of our campground here in Apache Junction.
These are the mountains Paul rode his bike out to this morning (he didn't realize it at the time). The cost is $6 per car for a day-use pass. They have a campground (We checked a couple weeks ago and they were full.), picnic areas, hiking trails, bike trails, and play areas for the kids.
We chose to hike Wind Cave Trail this morning. This is the park's most popular trail. (More on this fact later). The moderately difficult trail is 1.6 miles one way with plenty of switch backs. Most hikers plan about 2-hours for the round-trip. The steady, 800 feet ascent of the flank of Pass Mountain ends by the trail almost reaching the south peak. Hiking shoes and sticks are recommended. Be sure to remember all this AND this sign.
Wind Cave Trail is a very nice hike. It would rate up with some of the nicest we've taken. Many twisting turns, beautiful cactus and wild flowers, large rocks to climb around and over, beautiful vistas, and over-all a well maintained climb.
BUT.....remember we said it was the park's most popular trail. That means people. People can be annoying. The biggest irritant is there loud and constant bantering. You could hear them talking w-a-y before you passed them on the trail. We were out here to enjoy nature and a hike, not hear some gal discuss her child's soccer match, or what their plans were for dinner.
Then we had the young people who felt it would be more of a workout if they ran the course. Lookout here they come running past you on one of the skinny switch backs.
They were polite and thanked you for moving over out of their way though.
I kept thinking there has to be someone talking on a cell phone. That we didn't see, thank goodness! We did see several with earphones listening to music on their phones. One guy didn't bother with the earphones. He just played his music loud enough for everyone to enjoy it.
Of course their were hikers with their dogs (sorry folks) not on leash. The trail head clearly stated that all pets were to remain on leash. That really didn't bother us. They were almost the only wild life that wasn't scared away....ha ha!
Now these last three items take the cake. We saw one lone fellow with a child about a year old sitting on his SHOULDERS. Yep, getting a horsey ride up the mountain. One slip and this fellow would have a regrettable accident.
One guy thought he would show us how strong he is…at the top of the mountain, he decided to do push ups…YES, push ups…OH DEAR!
The #1 CRAZY AWARD goes to the young couple with a several month old baby in a backpack carrier.
Of course the baby was hot, uncomfortable, cranky and CRYING!! Paul tried to keep his mouth shut but couldn't resist saying to the fella'...."Please don't fall." Soon after passing them, we saw them heading back down the mountain with the mother carrying the child in her arms. At least they only went up about a fourth of the mountain.
So what should have been a truly wonderful hike became somewhat annoying. We would do this hike again, but on a cold, windy and rainy day. Just kidding folks! It's a shame to get old and grumpy....ha ha!
We have learned NOT to do the popular hikes again. We do HIGHLY recommend hiking this park…just take another trail. It is just so full of beauty!
Why the giant word PHOENIX is painted on the side of a mountain, along with an equally giant-sized arrow? The story begins back in the 1950's, when this sign was first whitewashed on the hillside by a group of Boy Scouts. At that time, the desert surrounding Phoenix was all open desert without much in the way of landmarks; the giant arrow was intended to direct pilots to the Phoenix airport, some 22 miles to the east.
These days, the metropolitan area has grown all the way out to the hills and beyond, and the nearby Superstition Freeway provides an obvious reference, so the sign is pretty much obsolete. Still, in the late 1990's, the sign was repainted by another group of scouts under the supervision of rangers from the nearby Usery Mountain Regional Park. That caused some complaints, so the giant letters will likely never be repainted again -- in these more-enlightened days, the public takes a dim view of defacing the natural scenery.
Watched the Baylor Bears in the NCAA Women's final basketball game. They won 40 games this year. The first time any boy or girl team has done that in the history of basketball. It was a pretty good game.
Wednesday, April 4 - Happy Birthday to our daughter, Kelly. Sorry we can't be there with you this year. We hope you have a wonderful day! Love you!
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!